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The first full week of conference play produced numerous outstanding efforts from players across the country, which made the competition for this week’s Player of the Week honors even more heated than normal. There was Georgetown’s Austin Freeman and his 33 points against Connecticut; Oklahoma State’s James Anderson averaging 27.0 points in two games; and Donald Sims of Appalachian State scoring 44 against Davidson. Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody averaged 30.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in two wins, while Charleston’s Andrew Goudelock dropped 24 points in a win over North Carolina and went for 22 and 10 against The Citadel.
The player whose performance mattered the most, however, was Tennessee’s Scotty Hopson. Although his numbers were not as impressive as some of the aforementioned players, his were potentially the most important. After the Volunteers suspended four players, including dismissing all-conference forward Tyler Smith, many (including me) wrote them off. Hopson wouldn’t let that happen. Tennessee won two games last week, including a victory over previously unbeaten and No. 1 Kansas. Furthermore, the Volunteers defeated Charlotte by 17 earlier in the week. Hopson averaged 17.0 points in the two wins, making 14-of-22 field goals and also grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists.
Hopson is leading Tennessee in scoring, averaging 13.8 points. He is shooting better than 51 percent from the field and nearly 41 percent from three-point range. If the Volunteers are going to continue winning without the suspended quartet, Hopson will have to be consistent and carry Tennessee offensively.